Skip to contentNational Women's Law Center

NWLC Helps Pregnant Student Secure her Rights

Gina Crosley-Corcoran

When I found myself pregnant in August of 2010 it only took a quick calculation to realize the baby was due right smack in the middle of my Spring semester of my junior year of college. Everything was fine until the fourth week of class. I was 40 weeks pregnant, feeling like labor was imminent, and I had a midterm exam that night. After I finished the exam, I went home so that I wouldn’t go into labor in the middle of class. Later, I realized I had received only 5 out of 25 points for “Attendance & Participation” for that day. I emailed the professor asking if she planned to dock me the full 25 points for each class I missed for the birth, and she said ‘yes.’ I had two options: either risk failing the course while giving birth, or withdraw. I withdrew.

Then I posted an update on Facebook complaining about having to withdraw from the class because I was having a baby. One commenter completely changed the game for me. Melanie Ross Levin, works for the National Women’s Law Center in Washington DC, told me that, according to Title IX of the Education Amendments Act, my professor was required to give me time off to have my baby, and to give me the same chance to earn my ‘A’ as any other student. At first, I really didn’t believe Melanie, so she told me to call the Center’s office, which I did. The amazing lawyer on the other end of the line completely had my back, and explained all my rights to me. I found the Title IX advisor at my school who was able to help resolve my situation. The administration outlined a plan that allowed me to do written work to make up for any absences and gave me a full six weeks after the last class to submit all of my work. Six weeks after the class was over, all of my coursework was turned in, and I received my grade: an A-. Huge thanks to the National Women's Law Center for helping me restore my rights.

Gina Crosley-Corcoran, Illinois